I first discovered Wendy Roberts‘ books when I read her GHOST DUSTERS series some years ago. I was thrilled when my daughter read the first book in the series and asked for more. Since that time, Wendy has really hit her stride, with enough books now to fill an entire keeper shelf. Please welcome Wendy to Romance University, and scroll down to check out details of her giveaway!
Life can be a stomach-in-your-throat roller coaster ride. You’re easing upward, enjoying the leisurely journey and when you reach the top you spend a split-second marveling at the view. Then, suddenly, you’re plummeting at breakneck speed toward the earth and you’re holding on for dear life.
Writing life is no different than an amusement park ride. It will be good, and it will be horrible and, often, both of those things in the same day. There are times when it feels nearly impossible to stay on track. The kids get sick. Your day job gets busy. You need surgery. Someone you love dies. Your cat needs an emergency trip to the vet. Next thing you know you’ve sidelined your writing because the very last thing you feel like doing is putting words down on paper. So, you put your daily word goal on the back burner. First, it’s just for a day. Then a month. Before you know it, you’ve forgotten the premise of your story, lost all connection with your characters and your momentum has vanished. Unfortunately, the longer you’re away from writing, the harder it is to claw your way back. Life has a way of stealing your writing time. If you let it.
At the beginning of this year I was asked to write two more books in my Bodies of Evidence series. I was honored and excited but, for the first time ever, I hesitated to agree to a contract. My father was very ill, my daughter was scheduled for surgery, and I’d been having my own health issues. I was already feeling overwhelmed and didn’t want to agree to deadlines that might be difficult to keep. However, like most things in the writing life, I decided to take a leap of faith and I agreed to submit two more books in short order. At the time, I felt really good about that decision.
However, almost immediately I unexpectedly lost a dear friend to illness. I was still helping my friend’s family to deal with her estate when my father took a turn for the worse and the next thing I knew I was on a plane keeping vigil by his side. Of course, I wouldn’t have passed up those last days with him for anything, but finding my muse again after I was home from the funeral was extremely hard. I pushed on and forced myself to write. It’s an emotional story and I’ll admit there were days when there were tears and those were not all from my characters! Then my daughter’s surgery date drew near and I needed to stay with her while she got back on her feet.
Through all this pain and upheaval, the deadline clock was still ticking. The circled date on my calendar mocked and taunted me. Yes, I had a boatload of legitimate excuses to ask for an extension. But turning in one book late would most assuredly mean I’d be late on the second one too. The saving grace through all the grief, pain and scheduling disruption was that I’d continued to write notes about the book. Sometimes it was a few lines of character description jotted down on my phone. Other days I managed to write an entire paragraph. Woo hoo! The point is, throughout it all, I kept moving in the same direction and, because of that, I didn’t lose traction. When I finally could sit down and pour time into the story the words came because I’d been laying the groundwork for those chapters for weeks. I’d continued to feed the story premise so it never truly left me.
If you are serious about this writing gig, there are going to be times when it comes easy. There will days when the planets align just right. Sometimes you’ll get a full eight hours sleep, the kids will leave you alone and, when you sit down at your computer, the words will flow like Niagara Falls. On those days you will reach your word count goal in record time. On those blessed days give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back and maybe even open a nice bottle of wine or celebrate with a big bowl of ice cream. Unfortunately, if you’re in this for the long haul, you will find those days to be an anomaly.
Remember all those years when you didn’t write? The times when you thought about it, but never actually got started? Something propelled you to the point where you finally started your book and that something will keep pushing you forward. If you encourage it.
Life will get hard. Write anyway.
The kids will get sick. Write anyway.
You will get the flu. Write anyway.
You will bury loved ones. Write anyway.
Make writing a habit and that will help you on the days when it feels impossible to write a single word. Establish the habit and stick to it. Give yourself a break when life knocks the wind out of your sales but make up any lost writing time the next day. Be kind to your body and nurture your soul but, still, at least make a few notes before the end of the day. Some days writing a single sentence will be all that you can muster. But don’t ever allow that break from your muse to snowball from a day, to a week, to a month because, soon, not writing will become your new normal and that’s when writing becomes truly hard.
On the days when I don’t have the time, energy, or will to write I convince myself to write just one single sentence in the next scene. It’s a trick because that one single sentence is almost always followed by a second and a third and, before I know it, the scene is finished.
Do you have any tricks you use to get your words done on those hard days? Do you reward yourself with a special treat on the days the writing went particularly well?
Wendy will give away of a copy of A Grave Calling (first book in the Bodies of Evidence series) to one lucky commenter. It can be either e-book or paperback, and – bonus! – she will ship it anywhere. Check back over the weekend to see the announcement of the giveaway winner.
There had been no attempt to bury the dead girl, naked except for the white ribbon tied to her wrist
Twenty-five-year-old Julie Hall has a unique ability: when she takes up a dowsing rod, she finds not water but bodies. To Julie, it’s a curse, not a gift, and one she rarely uses—she prefers her quiet life in a trailer, with her grandfather and her dog for company. But when FBI agent Garrett Pierce shows up at her door seeking help with a case, she has no choice but to assist with their search.
Three girls are still missing. The killer is still out there. As bodies are discovered and more girls disappear, the case becomes almost more than Julie can bear. And when the killer turns his sights toward her, even her growing relationship with the protective Agent Garrett may not be enough to save her.
Wendy Roberts is the author of four novels in the Bodies of Evidence mystery series, five Ghost Dusters mysteries, as well as Dating Can Be Deadly, and Grounds to Kill. She is an armchair sleuth and a fan of all things mysterious. Wendy resides in Vancouver, Canada where she happily tends to feral cats, rogue raccoons and writes about murder. She is always working on her next novel.
CRAFT OF WRITING